YouTube Channels Pass Disinformation From Right-wing English Media to Latinos
Influential right-wing and conspiracy theory-driven YouTube channels often pull their content from English-language right-wing media to spread misinformation to Spanish speakers, exposing them to narratives they might otherwise not have seen. .
YouTube has been the most used social media platform in the United States for at least 2018 – including and especially among Hispanics in the United States – and the Hispanic Congressional Caucus has identified the problem of misinformation on YouTube as a “ major priority. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has been in contact with the caucus and has pledged to work with them on this issue.
Media Matters has identified dozens of YouTube channels producing content in Spanish that are spreading right-wing misinformation and conspiracy theories to Spanish-speaking YouTube audiences. These accounts each have over 100,000 followers and translate or use previously translated articles from major English-language right-wing outlets, including Fox News, The Gateway Pundit and The Epoch Times. An account that heavily peddled stories of voter fraud has more than 545,000 followers.
Some right-wing sites, like The Epoch Times, have separate websites dedicated to publishing content in Spanish, which is often directly translated from the site’s English content. Popular YouTube channels can serve as trusted messengers for otherwise intangible right-wing misinformation, either by introducing pre-translated content to their audiences or by translating it themselves from English.
YouTube channels amplify right-wing media content in Spanish
Spanish-language YouTube channels that promote false or misleading information cover a range of topics, from LGBTQ issues to the Biden administration. They usually add screenshots of right-wing articles — or, in some cases, Fox news clips — to their videos and summarize them. In our review, we found that these channels often presented their content as general commentary while promoting right-wing talking points.
Below are some of the videos identified in our review:
- Right-wing YouTube personality John Acquaviva used Project Veritas content to peddle lies about “election irregularities” in 2020. Acquaviva claimed the media was sabotaging former President Donald Trump in the months leading up to the 2020 election. Acquaviva’s video garnered over 432,000 views and is still viewable on YouTube, despite the platform’s explicit policies that prohibit “content that makes false claims that widespread fraud, error, or mischief changed the outcome” of the U.S. presidential election.
- A YouTube Informativo G24 video used an Epoch Times article in Spanish to downplay the Jan. 6 uprising. The video justified the insurrection, saying it resulted from Election Day “irregularities” and defended former President Donald Trump’s actions before and after the attack. Informativo G24 has 545,000 subscribers at the time of publication.
- On a reposted livestream, YouTuber Eduardo Menoni spread conspiracy theories featuring articles from Gateway Pundit. The video began with an ad for a treatment called ‘purified water’ and ended with vague conspiracy theories about a ‘cabal’ involving the mainstream media, centering the allegations against a former CNN staffer for child abuse. . Menoni has over 189,000 subscribers on YouTube.
- Venezuela News used an Epoch Times article to peddle the narrative that the left is indoctrinating minors with an LGBTQ agenda and critical race theory. The video stated that “the radical agenda of the left is the 2030 agenda, which seeks to indoctrinate young people, adolescents and children, people, with an ideology that goes against the principles established by God”.
- BLes Mundo used a Fox News clip of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) spewing rhetoric echoing conspiracy theories about an alleged elite globalist cabal at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The video continued with several more segments, some of which peddled anti-LGBTQ narratives. BLes Mundo is a right-wing site that regularly publishes conspiracy theories. The channel has 298,000 subscribers.
- YouTube channel Venezuela News used an Epoch Times article to attack President Joe Biden and claim that his administration was prioritizing migrant children amid a shortage of infant formula in the United States Venezuela News has nearly 170,000 subscribers and regularly posts conspiracy theory videos involving US political figures.
Right-wing media exploits limited news sources for Latinos
By embedding this content in live streams or videos with vague and sensationalized titles, these channels deliver this right-wing content to an audience that might otherwise never have been exposed to it. In addition to sourcing right-wing outlets in their YouTube videos, these outlets or actors also regularly post their content on other social media platforms like Facebook – effectively funneling English-language misinformation to Latinos through multiple avenues online. .
Although YouTube promised to suspend channels that made false claims about widespread voter fraud following the attacks on the Capitol early last year, many channels identified by Media Matters had high-engagement videos on the stolen election lie of 2020 – including the John Acquaviva video above. channel.
In the United States, 85% of adults who identify as Hispanic use YouTube, making the platform a major news source for the Latino community. Univision and Telemundo are the only two major news networks broadcast in Spanish in the United States. The lack of diverse sources of information for Latinos in America may lead communities to seek out information on platforms like YouTube, which seem to offer diverse voices and content. However, access to misleading or false information online does not equate to a diverse information ecosystem. Latinos deserve better.